Desi Crime


Been busy, busy, busy with I don’t know what – too many social occasions, too many dinners out, and just too many errands to run in general, so my reading has stayed on the most basic level.

Which is why there are thrillers galore being featured on the blog these days, as short pacey thrillers are the only books I’ve been able to focus on lately.

Here are a couple of Indian crime novels that I quite enjoyed.

In the Shadows of Death

Sheetal Mehra, HR executive with Crescent Technologies, is found murdered in the toilet of a Kolkata hotel after an office party.

ACP Agni Mitra finds out about her adulterous ways as he starts investigating into the murder.

The miffed husband, a lecherous boss, one of her many jilted admirers – anyone could have killed her.

The investigation is stuck in myriad perplexing questions when the murder of Meenakshi Menon, a Director with Altius Finance, hits the headlines.

As more murders rock the city, it is not too long before the battle of wits with his unseen adversary turns personal for Agni.

~ Synopsis from goodreads

This is a standard serial killer story. When Sheetal Mehra is found murdered in very sleazy circumstances, ACP Mitra looks around for a jealous boyfriend or husband. But soon it becomes obvious that the motive for the murder is much more generic, and that he is chasing down a seriously disturbed killer.

I thought this book was gripping and fast-paced, but there is nothing new about the plot. Such serial killer stories are a dime a dozen.

Additionally, I thought the women in the story were pretty unconvincing. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but the way they act and the language they use, it was pretty obviously a man’s thoughts coming through a woman’s voice.

However, this plot is still executed pretty well, and even manages to pack in a couple of surprises. Overall, a great way to kill a couple of hours.

You can also purchase a copy of this book from Amazon.

The Sinister Silence

When ace software engineer Saahil is found battling for his life on a rainy morning, it looks like a case of attempted suicide.

However, Saahil’s family strongly denies that possibility and calls in ex-super cop-turned-detective Mili Ray to investigate.

While doctors are uncertain about Saahil’s survival, the police discover the blood-soaked body of Saahil’s colleague Farzad. Why are IT engineers being targeted? Is there a link between these ghastly attacks and Saahil’s cutting-edge invention – the PA software?

Ray and her team – Advocate Gatha and ex-army officer Anubhav – dive into this case, which is turning murkier by the hour.

Unaware that a conniving assassin is stalking her, Ray races towards a dangerous trap while murderous attacks continue to haunt the IT world. Who is behind these assaults – a jealous co-worker, an IT kingpin, an estranged friend, or someone else?

~ Synopsis from goodreads

The book starts off really strong with a tense life or death situation where detective Mili Ray has to intervene to save Saahil’s life. In the process, she gets pulled into the murder investigation of Saahil’s colleague Farzad, and from there onwards the plot takes a lot of twists and turns (some really bizarre) before the culprit is apprehended.

The investigation is really good as well, with a lot of complicated timeline issues coming into the picture, and Mili Ray’s investigation was rock-solid. I also felt that the author got her characters and their inter-personal relationships right. Overall, the book was entertaining, gripping, and fast-paced.

What let me down in the book was the implausible ending and rationale for the murder.

Have you read books where you find the murder plot overly convoluted, and which have you scratching your heads at the method of murder? Well, this was one of those.

A little simpler plot and a less obvious giveaway at the start of the book would have made this a better read for me.

You can purchase a copy of this book from Amazon.

Huge thanks to Srishti Publications for sending me these books for review.

Note: I read both these books as part of my participation in the Cloak and Dagger reading challenge. With this post, I am now five books in to the challenge. Five more to go!

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